New year, new social media marketing strategy.
But wait—you haven’t actually made one yet. Your brow begins to furrow. Your forehead begins to sweat. Panic ensues.
Do not fret, friend. There is no need to get your jimmies rustled. We cornered Hootsuite’s social media marketing team for some quick tips on how to create a stellar social media strategy even if you’re getting started late in the game. Rest assured, this guide will show you how to quickly build a solid social media strategy for the year ahead.
Bonus: Download a free guide to discover how to get more sales and conversions with social media monitoring on Hootsuite—no tricks or boring tips.
1. Start by establishing your goals
Before getting caught up with creating a full-fledged social media strategy, take a step back and establish your business goals for the year.
The foundation of your social media strategy depends on your goals and objectives, first and foremost. What are the metrics that matter most to your business? What return on investment (ROI) are you hoping for?
Your goals might be the same as the last year, but chances are, they’ve probably shifted at least a little due to the ever-changing nature of social (and your business).
If you’re stuck on how to begin setting goals, try the S.M.A.R.T. framework in order to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
2. Use last year’s data to inform this year’s strategy
Dive into last year’s analytics and figure out what worked and what fell flat. Look at the success (or failure) of the social media campaigns you launched, the activity and engagement on all of your platforms, and what type of content resonated with your audience the most.
You can do this by conducting a social media audit. An audit keeps your finger on the pulse of your social presence to see what’s working and what’s not.
Based on the previous year’s data reports, you might want to switch up the time of day you post, in order to reach more of your target audience and drum up more engagement. Or, you might want to focus on Facebook over Instagram because you’ve seen more consistent return on investment (ROI) on one platform versus the other.
The point is to allow last year’s data to give you a better direction for the new year. For a comprehensive overview of metrics for all your social networks in one place, visit Hootsuite Analytics.
Examples of the type of data you can look at:
The days and times you get the highest engagement
Hootsuite’s social marketing team is always on the look out for the best times to post based on when they receive the most engagement: “As a brand, we have a lot of content to share and we want it to reach our audiences when they’re actually plugged in,” says Amanda Wood, Hootsuite’s social media marketing specialist.
Based on the data they see in their analytics reports, the team adjusts their posting times accordingly.
In this example, this process never stops, as several factors can impact engagement at any time—holidays, big events, and other external influences on your demographic’s online behaviour.
The type of content or campaigns that worked the best
Live and disappearing video (think Facebook Live and Snapchat) made a huge splash in 2016 and was something we tested at Hootsuite throughout the year. In December we launched our first Facebook Live video in the form of a holiday campaign. The effort paid off and our social marketing team learned that we can apply this type of quick, fairly inexpensive, DIY, and agile kind of content creation in the future.
Comb through your social media channels to learn who’s following you and engaging with your content. Are these people the ones you want to target?
If not, it might be time to switch up the content you’re posting, or shift focus from one platform to another. You want to be marketing to your target audience at all times.
Although it’s important to talk to everyone that engages with you on social media—when it comes to meeting business goals, it’s crucial that you’re tailoring your social media efforts to the right audience personas.
Hot tip: Never stop looking at data and adjusting your strategy as needed. Keep track of reports, test and analyze new types of content and tactics. Determine what’s working and what needs to go
3. Consider current trends and how you might integrate them into your plan
Social moves quick and so it makes sense that you’d want to incorporate—or at least consider—the most up-to-date trends in the industry.
The top five social media trends for 2017, as outlined by Hootsuite’s CEO Ryan Holmes, are:
- Paid social media
- Employee advocacy
- Social media training
- CEOs on social
- Social selling
Of course not all of these will tie back in with your business goals or brand. Social selling, for example, works well in the financial industry where advisors need to build long-term relationships with clients. But it might not fare as well in the consumer packaged goods industry (CPG) which doesn’t rely as much on relationships between potential customers and sales professionals.
Research trends—both recent and upcoming—then assess them against your business goals to determine if any of them are right for your brand’s strategy.
4. Look for inspiration from unconventional places
We’ve said this already: a big part of social media marketing is to keep moving and coming up with new ideas to keep your channels feeling fresh. A good way to get the creative juices flowing is to look to others for inspiration.
Take note of thought leaders and industry giants—but push yourself to look outside of these confounds as well.
Hootsuite’s social marketing team likes to look at retailers for innovation. Retailers generally have a large budget for social media and creative purposes, which gives them the opportunity to try new things and push the envelope.
These brands also have a tangible product that they can show off on their social channels. Brands like Everlane and Urban Outfitters are among our favorites.
— Everlane (@Everlane) December 22, 2016
5. Don’t get overwhelmed
Social is constantly moving and changing—and that means your social media plan will too. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking of the whole year in one go. You can tackle different chunks of your plan and optimize your strategy as you go along.
Set your business goals in January but know that you can pivot your strategy as needed to keep working towards them. Social media moves at lightspeed and you will need to stay on your toes.
Reap the rewards of your social media efforts from one place and use that data to get started on your social marketing strategy today. Learn more about Hootsuite Analytics.